Monday, May 4, 2009

Elevator Short-Circuit

We live on the 12th floor of a 22 story building. It's not my choice for a favorite place to raise a family, but it is where we live. And we are very grateful for our home here.

This morning was Marian's first day wearing pigtails in her hair (I think she looked cuter than ever). It was her first day to climb up to the "big slide" AND get on it and come down all by herself. And, this morning- on the way to school, it was her first time to get on an elevator alone and get completely lost from me- all by herself.

I was just a minute behind her- 30 seconds even- but by the time I got to the elevator I saw Isaiah and a nice neighbor lady who was pushing the down button, hoping to open up the elevator that was going up from our floor. I told her "it's ok, we'll get on the next one" and then started looking for my girl... when the neighbor replied that she had jumped on the elevator.

I was upset at first- flustered that I was behind my baby enough to let all that happen without me being there, and struggling with sinfulness in my heart, accusing the elevator, the neighbors who must have been on there, anything... it was all awfully ugly, untrusting, blaming-others junk coming out of my heart. Still, for the time, I think I looked somewhat calm. I just stepped back and waited for the elevator to reach our floor again. Surely she would be on it. It was peak rush hour at the elevator and I thought that any of our neighbors would be able to help her stay right where she was until mama found her. (We stand out quite a bit here and I think many, if not most, of our approx 2,000 neighbors in this building know us, our kids names and maybe even what floor we live on.) But that didn't happen.

Like I said, I was pretty calm until she wasn't on the elevator when it came back by our floor. Sadly, at that point, I completely lost my cool. I screamed and totally freaked out Isaiah. I scrambled up the stairs not knowing where I was going and then ran right back down yelling for Matt to come help, come watch Isaiah, no- come run the stairs looking... (K3 slows me down a fair bit these days.) The kind lady took off too... in the end she ran up all the stairs, checking each floor till the 22nd.

Dumb fears started swirling in my brain- what if someone tries to take off with her? Takes her into their apartment and I'd never find her? I asked Matt to go straight down to the first floor- check each flight- and then wait for a bit at the bottom... no one would get to sneak our princess away from us! (Ridiculous, I know!)

Finally... way too late in the game... I told Isaiah that God is watching out for Marian, He will protect her and we should pray together. So we did and we were both a bit more calm after that, but still...

Not having the best plan of attack, it did take a little while to find our girl. It was the kind lady who finally- felt like 2 hours later, but was probably just 10 minutes- came back to our floor and told me that a grandma was holding her on the 22nd floor, waiting for us. I thanked the kind lady (but not enough, she's getting a big Thank You note tomorrow morning.) And then Isaiah and I met Papa in the elevator on the way up. Together we got to retrieve a totally calm and content Marian from a sweet older woman who knew just who Marian was.

She told us she had had a little conversation with Marian (in the local language) and was enjoying her visit with our darling. No problems at all...

Except in me. I had completely short-circuited.... lost my whole heart.... screamed when I saw my baby girl gone. Isaiah flipped out so bad when I screamed that he- my 3 year old little man- had to try to calm me down, "Mama, don't scream like that because it makes me scared."

I repented to the Lord for my untrusting, proud, accusing heart and I confessed my sin to my boy too, since he had been so sadly affected by it as well. In the end, I think it was a good lesson for him to hear his mama broken and humbled by this... but how much sweeter for him to see a humble, trusting mama bring situations like this straight to the Lord!?

It is so painfully evident to me that probably one of my hugest area of weakness is submitting my Mother's Heart to the Lord. Why is it that I short-circuit so easily, soooo fast when it comes to caring for my kids, protecting them, teaching them, or defending myself against locally given words of care and critique? It's as if the process of filtering every impulse, every scrap of input in my life, through the Holy Spirit, through the grace of God, ( a process that at other times actually does bear sweet fruit in my heart) just collapses, skips it's due course and I revert to a sadly self-reliant, able-to-do-nothing-but-groan flesh in stressful mom moments like this.

I want the grace of God to lay on me- lay into me thicker, that all these things come to me with the awareness, the assurance that God is in control. Oh control me so Lord! Give me grace to be self-controlled! I CANNOT provide flawlessly for these little ones that I love. You alone can be trusted for their care.

Oh for more grace to submit my kids, my parenting, my whole heart and my every single moment completely to the Lord... For as embarrassed as I was of myself all morning and all day long (I'm sure I woke up some neighbors in our paper-thin-walled building with my 8am scream), I do take great comfort and encouragment that the Lord is still walking with me, even when I break down like this. My sin and weakness take him less by surprise than it does me! "If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." (2 Tim 2: 13).

"Rise up and help us; redeem us because of your unfailing love." Psalm 44:26

Yes Lord, Redeem! Not because I'm worthy (clearly, not at all), but because of your unfailing love. Praise be to God for His unfailing love!

Be glorified Lord- let your glory even shine out of this cracked pot. (2 Cor 4:6-7)


  1. I am 'cracked' too! Thank you for sharing. I have held this nightmare in my heart...hoping it would never happen.
    You are always an encouragement to me.
    Miss you.

  2. You are so precious and transparent. Thank you for your story, it really made me smile! I am so thankful that Marian is ok. Love, Cari

  3. Oh Jillian, I cried as I read this. Too often, I too, have "short-circuited" when my children have wandered off... thanks for the beautiful words and the transparency of your heart. Isn't it overwhelming to know that our Father loves us even more than we love our precious children?!? I am totally overwhelmed by the thought....